This past weekend the American Baseball Coaches Association held their annual gathering. Among the many presenters/session leaders was Cincinnati Reds Minor League Pitching Coordinator and Director of Pitching Initiatives Kyle Boddy. JJ Cooper of Baseball America was in attendance for the conference and wrote a whole article about some of what Boddy said during the talk that he gave, and how the organization is going to grade their coaches based on the progression of the pitchers they work with.
Before the article was published, though, there was a series of tweets. It was this one that stood out to me.
Also allows coaches to stay on same page. With promoted players coaches can see what coach at previous level was telling a player and learn how that player learns.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) January 3, 2020
Before I dive in, be sure to go read the linked article above at Baseball America. There’s a lot in there worth seeing. But the above quote is quite important to things that I’ve seen in the past within the Cincinnati Reds organization. I’ve talked about it before, both on the digital pages of the internet and on podcasts – and it’s been a few years since I’ve seen/heard it – but there were periods of time where each pitching coach in the organization had entirely different plans for pitchers.
There’s a very specific pitcher that sticks out in my mind where this was a big deal. This was a handful of years ago, but a pitcher had been performing well at one stop. He was promoted to the next level, and before he even entered a game the pitching coach at the next level had him lower his arm slot. The results, were as you’d expect – not exactly good.
A scout who covers the Reds organization was in town at the same time I was shortly after the promotion, and he had seen the pitcher just a few weeks earlier at the previous stop. He was confused as to what was happening given how the pitcher had looked just a few weeks earlier. The arm slot was different and the pitcher had significantly lower velocity.
One of the things that Kyle Boddy said early on after being hired was that there were going to be individual plans for each pitcher in the organization. That’s something that sounds like a no-brainer. But it wasn’t that long ago where it seems that wasn’t the case within the organization, either.
As noted when the Reds hired Boddy to revamp their pitching development in the minor leagues – this too is likely going to take some time to see the results. Good, bad, or indifferent results, it’s going to take time. This may be a process where it takes a few years to really have enough information to see if it was a successful endeavor or not. In theory and on paper, it sounds like a good plan. It’s going to require a lot of time to find out if it actually makes any sort of measurable difference, though.